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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

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Overview Belgium (Flemish Community)

Contents

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and learning in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-Flemish-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Legislation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Glossary

 

Geographical accessibility

Schools in Flanders are quite evenly spread across the territory. The Constitution does not only guarantee parents’ the freedom to choose a school but also the freedom to choose between a neutral official school and a free school. If no official or private schools provide Elementary education within a radius of 4 km of the pupil's home, the government can contribute to the pupil's transport costs or can incorporate the school in the financing or subsidising regulation in case the parents of at least 16 pupils require this.

Due to recent demographical developments, capacity problems have arisen in a number of cities and municipalities (a.o. around Brussels). The conditions for establishing new schools have therefore been relaxed and new schools have been established. Extra teaching periods have also been allocated to schools in several municipalities with capacity problems.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

Transition to primary education

The costumary age to start primary education is six years. The period spent in pre-primary education usually ends in the month of June of the year in which the child turns six years of age; the following September the child goes on to primary education which is when it begins its compulsory education, spanning a period of twelve years. A pupil may be admitted to regular primary education at the age of five on the condition of a positive opinion by the class committee. Parents on the other hand may decide to keep their child in pre-primary education for one year longer. This decision cannot be taken unless parents have sought the advice from the class council of the nursery school their child is attending and that of the Pupil Guidance Centre first.

Children can only enter Dutch-language mainstream primary education at the age of six if they have attended recognised Dutch-language pre-primary education for at least 220 half days in the previous school year. For six-year olds who did not spend 220 half days in a recognised Dutch pre-primary school and for five-year olds the class committee of the primary school decides on admittance. Newly arrived school entrants aged seven or older (pupils from abroad, from home education or from French-language education) are admitted to mainstream primary education on the basis of their age. 

Duration of primary education and transition to secondary education

The minimum number of years any child must spend in primary education is four. Pupils normally go on to secondary education after the 6th grade of primary education. On the other hand, children can spend up to eight years in primary education. For access to the eighth year a positive opinion of the class council and an advice of the Pupil Guidance Centre is needed (Decree of 25 February 1997). This arrangement allows children who start education late (due to illness, disability or immigration) to remain in primary education until the end of the school year in which he/she turns 15 (and on condition that he/she has not attended primary education for more than eight years). Pupils who have spent one part of their school career in mainstream primary education and another part in special education, may spend the length of time prevailing in special education in primary education.

Choice of school

The choice of school is made by the parents. The registration right, procedures and priority system are dealt with under 'Fundamental principles and national policies', 2.1-2.

When children are first registered for primary education, the school board of the school they wish to attend informs the parents and the pupil of the school’s pedagogical project and the school regulations, including the declaration of commitment. The parents must sign the pedagogical project and school regulations to confirm their acceptance of them [see 2.1-2.2].

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

Primary education comprises 6 grades. The school board can autonomously decide how the groups are divided and set the number of pupils per class. The year group system is not compulsory but is used in many schools in fact. However various forms of differentiation are used. The teaching-period system (see composition of staff 2.7.2.2) facilitates this freedom of choice. Thus, class groups are for instance divided into different areas of learning, some pupils receive temporary individual tuition, teachers are coached by colleagues, etc. In this way, elementary schools define their special needs and equal educational opportunities policy.

In the main, one teacher teaches all the different subjects but special teachers are appointed for subjects such as music, physical education while, in official education, a specific leermeester (teacher) is appointed to provide philosophy-of-life education (religion or non-confessional ethics).

Organisation of the School Year

The organisation of school time is regulated by the Decision of the Flemish Government of 17 April 1991 concerning the organisation of the school year in Elementary education. Within this framework, school boards autonomously organise school days, school weeks and the school year.

The school year commences on 1 September and ends on 31 August.

Weekly and daily timetable

The school board has full autonomy when it comes to organising the education it offers, which it lays down in a school development plan and enjoys the same autonomy as regards the drafting of the timetables. With the exception of hospital schools, children follow 28 to 29 teaching periods of 50 minutes each per school week. They are evenly spread across the five workdays, from Monday to Friday. There is no school on Wednesday afternoons. Classes commence at the earliest at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. at the earliest and at 5 p.m. at the latest. Lunch breaks last at least one hour. Often classes in the morning and/or afternoon are paused for playtime. Sometimes there is also contiguous pre- or after lunch playtime.

Length of the school day in primary education


Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Before-school care possible /

out-of-school care






Classes start at 8 a.m. at the earliest,

normally at 8.30 a.m.






Lunch break of at least 1 hour



Afternoon off, possibly with limited after-school care



Classes end at 3 p.m. at the earliest

at 5 p.m. at the latest






After-school care possible /

out-of-school care